Re: Manifest Science (was: RE: virus: Cow)

Brett Robertson (
Sat, 29 May 1999 11:21:09 -0500 (EST)

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What is wrong with the example provided by <medicine> (the technology for replicating "medicine" the idea) as this might be contrasted from "medicine" (the science of healing)? NOTE: The science re-defines the perspective by which health is dispensed but the *technology* is about the evolution of health (to which the science conforms-- but which is not open, itself, to modification)*.

Similarly, the technology of freedom is about emergent *order* (as in "freedom from chance"... sorry this use seems somehow contrary to your understanding of what the term freedom denotes). You are right, it is not a good example, too abstract (except that I had hoped that as an example it would help make an important point-- that a technology is not affected by the products of it).

*memetics as a force for replication (as exemplified by a particular idea, ie "medicine", and the technology for implementing this idea, ie the meme <medicine>) seems to necessitate that the meme may not be both available for modification and also replicable as a distinct entity (a such, we might also say that the technology of medicine necessitates replication).

Brett Lane Robertson
Indiana, USA
MindRecreation Metaphysical Assn.
BIO: ...........
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At 03:03 AM 28/05/99 -0500, Brett wrote:

>How do you make a distinction between the "products" of technology and
>the driving force which creates the products?

By "the driving force which creates the products", is this just a phrase meaning "technology itself", or do you mean "science"? You lost me.

>Isn't freedom a technology (for example)?

Sorry, Brett. I haven't been able to parse your peculiar use of the word "freedom" in the past, and this question is no exception. You seem to be using it as describing some form of fundamental physical property, as in nuclear physics. If I was to interpret the word using its generally understood meaning, I would have to say that "freedom", if anything, is a _product_ of technology (freedom from drudgery, freedom from the selective pressures of the "natural" environment, etc.).

Remember the context of the phenomenon we discuss here. For example, we wouldn't use nuclear physics to describe these relationships. You _could_ do that, but you would find that, as your descriptions of atomic dynamics got more and more complex, you would be recapitulating (in the form of previous equations being reused repeatedly as components inside the next, more complex equation) all the levels of distinct emergent behaviour between atoms and memes anyway. Part way through this herculean task, you would resolve to replace all those of physics equations with shorter symbols. In the beginning, you would start out using the Greek letter "roh" for the smallest and simplest bits of repeated equations. As you progressed, you would notice that there were repeating chunks of identical equations that contained roh. So, to make things simpler, you would use the term "molecular dynamics" for those. Do you see where this is going? By the time you got to the cellular replicator emergent level, you would be using symbols like "AGCT" to represent repeating mountains of repeating piles of repeating chunks of repeating bits of nuclear physical dynamics. At this level, you would be using these symbols to describe phenomena in terms of storage (DNA), transcription (RNA), transmission (mRNA), and expression (protein). By the time you got to the human culture level of emergent phenomenon, you would be using "words". Language. English, French, etc. Now, I don't just mean that you would be _using_ language to _describe_ memetic dynamics, I mean that the description _of_ language encoding would describe memetics in the same way that the description of DNA encoding describes genetics. No two species contain the exact same complement of genes encoding the exact same complement of proteins, but all species use the same base-pair triplets to encode the same basic amino acids (no pun intended). By the same token, no two cultures contain the exact same complement of linguistic expression encoding the exact same complement of ideas, but all cultures use the same base conceptual constructs to encode the same basic communicable ideas, without exception.

In other words, while only some multicellular life forms may express cellulose, and some others may produce connectin, they both serve approximately the same function, and a lot of the proteins they produce _will_ be the same, and they both use the same encoding scheme (A, G, C, T in triplets) to produce the same building blocks (amino acids).

In a similar fashion, while only some cultures may express representative democracy, and some other cultures express facism, they both serve approximately the same function, and a lot of the cultural components they produce _will_ be the same, and they both use the same encoding scheme (verbs, nouns, adjectives in pairs) to produce the same building blocks (inquiries, declarative statements, directives) to do it.

Sorry, I overshot my point. The point is, the context of the discussion _must_ be from the point of view of the level of emergence that the thing under discussion is "imbedded" in. If it isn't, you get muddled ideas like "Gaia", or expressions about how "all distinctions are an illusion, everything is connected" and other such fuzzy-thinking post-modernist tripe. Sure, they're _true_, but only _partly_ true. They fail to acknowledge the distinctions drawn from the context of higher-order emergent systems (like minds and culture). As a matter of fact, you don't need to explicitly acknowledge _all_ points of view (levels of emergent systems) when describing something, just the highest level. All the subordinate points of view (perspectives, levels of analysis, whatever) are already implicit.

>What products does it create
>and how are these products "of a different sort"?

"Of a different sort" compared to what? I'm not sure what you're referring to.

>I could also ask: "Isn't medicine a technology?". Though, by the first
>example, I would like to make the point that while the technology of
>medicine MAY be defined by the products,

I would say that that the technology of medicine may be _inferred_ by the products. Are you dismissing the apparent causality in the sequence of events, or are you referring to some other relationship I'm not aware of?

>the example which freedom
>suggests may illustrate that a technology doesn't even HAVE to be
>product oriented

Probably not in the concrete sense of "product", but a "technology" will always have an _effect_, at least. By definition.

>(and from there we might further distinguish the
>product from the technology-- as in the medicine example [or the
>science example]... assuming that this distinction is meaningful at

No, not really (not to me, anyway), although your question _does_ infer the neccesity of drawing appropriate distinctions, which can only be done in the appropriate context if they're going to make sense (be meaningful at all).

Medicine, in the common use of the term, could just as easily refer to the science (knowledge of anatomy, for instance) or the technology (prescribed procedure for removing an appendix or the particular characteristics of the tools used to cut it out), so it's not a very good example. However, you _could_ be more explicit and say that medical science, as a "gene complex", when "transcribed" into surgical procedures and implements and pharmaceuticals and so forth, expresses the "trait" of medical technology. The "product" of medical technology would be healed people (unless there was a transcription error, in which case the "product" might be death, and "board de-certification" would be an "immune response" :-). Empirical evidence drawn from observing the efficacy of the application of medical science (i.e. the extent and nature of the healing) would feed back to progress and refine the science. This is kind of what I was driving at before. This is a _general_ dynamic that is evident within _every_ level of emergent complexity. Feedback and refinement.